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De Niro to play disgraced Madoff November 8, 2011

De Niro’s Tribeca Productions will make the film

Robert De Niro is to play disgraced financier Bernie Madoff in an HBO movie he will produce, according to reports.

Laurie Sandell’s book, Truth and Consequences: Life Inside the Madoff Family, will be used as source material, The Hollywood Reporter says.

Diane Henrique’s best seller, The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust, will also be used.

Madoff is in prison for fraud in the US after conning £41bn from thousands of investors.

The film will be written by John Burnham Schwartz, who wrote the novel Reservation Road, which was turned into a film in 2007 starring Joaquin Phoenix.

Sandell’s book was written with the co-operation of Madoff’s son Andrew and other family members.

Andrew and his mother Ruth helped promote the book on TV, including an in-depth interview on CBS programme 60 Minutes.

In 2009, Bernie Madoff admitted defrauding investors through a Ponzi scheme, which paid out using their money rather than any profits.

He said the scheme had been running since the early 1990s.

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Gang arrested in New York stole techniques from The Town October 19, 2011

A crew of alleged burglars arrested in New York say they learned tricks from the Ben Affleck film The Town to help carry out 62 robberies, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

It was reported that the five men, who were arrested by the NYPD last weekend, told detectives that they had splashed bleach on ATMs and cash drawers, cut the power to robbery locations and used miners’ headlamps to see in the dark after watching Affleck and his fictional crew do the same in the 2010 crime thriller.

The Town, which pitted a gang of Boston criminals against a FBI agent (played by Mad Men’s Jon Hamm), also saw Affleck’s gang dress up as skeletons, nuns and policemen during their heists. The real-life crew, who police say made a total of $217,000 robbing discount stores, pizza restaurants and delis in Brooklyn and Queens, dressed in street clothes. However, another criminal duo, who held up a Chicago bank dressed in the same type of nun costumes used in the film, were arrested and charged in May.

Four of the suspects from the latest case are awaiting arraignment. The fifth is in prison due to an unrelated weapons charge.

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Are you put off by a film star’s politics? | Open thread October 11, 2011

He may be an Oscar winner and humanitarian but, if a survey by the Hollywood Reporter is anything to go by, Sean Penn’s performances are being deliberately bypassed by the American right. The survey of 1,000 cinema-goers highlights that 52% of Republicans snub films that star an actor whose political views they disagree with. Penn appears to be top of their blacklist, with 40% of polled Republicans expressing a dislike for the actor.

Have the political persuasions of a film star ever prevented you from going to see one of their pictures? Do you think a star’s politics will inform their performance?

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